From New York to California, excitement swept the nation this weekend as the first round of Great American/USDF Regional Championship dressage competitions were held in five regions across the country, giving horses and riders the opportunity to qualify for the inaugural US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, a national head-to-head competition showcasing adult amateur and open riders from Training Level to Grand Prix. These Finals will be held November 7 - 10, 2013 in Lexington, KY.
So far, more than 1,200 declarations have been received from riders seeking to qualify for what may be the chance of a lifetime to compete on the national stage and win fantastic prizes, bragging rights, and more than $50,000 in prize money. As Regional Championships are underway, riders are now seeking to earn qualifying scores and, if successful, take the next step in pursuit of their dreams by nominating their horses for an invitation to compete at the Finals. One of those competitors now preparing to nominate for the Finals is adult amateur rider Melissa Mulchahey of Livermore, CA, who enjoyed a successful weekend at the Region 7 Championships in Rancho Murieta, CA by claiming the Region 7 First Level Freestyle Championship with her own Westfalen pony "Outrageous". "Going to the Finals wasn't really on my radar screen until I received an e-mail reminder from USDF about declaring, and I thought 'what do I have to lose?'," Mulchahey explained. "So I declared and now after winning this weekend at Regionals, my trainer and my friends are encouraging me to go! I have to consider the travel logistics involved but I'm excited about the opportunity."
Mulchahey admitted that as she prepared to trot down centerline for her freestyle at Region 7, the Finals were on her mind well before the music started. "I did feel a little pressure to get it perfect because I knew there was a lot on the line, but I tried not to think too much about it too much," she said "My pony went really well for me, and I was thrilled. So now we'll see about going to Kentucky."
The US Dressage Finals will be held at the picturesque Kentucky Horse Park, home of the 2010 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games. For the first time in history, riders like Mulchahey from across the country at all levels of performance will be invited to compete over the same hallowed ground where international champions have been crowned. "The Kentucky Horse Park is one of the finest equestrian facilities in the world," notes George Williams, President of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF). "And I couldn't be more thrilled that our mission to provide a national spotlight for riders at all levels, especially adult amateurs, will now be realized there. This will be their moment to shine."
Riders in USDF Regions 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8 completed their Regional Championships this weekend and now have the opportunity to take the next step towards the US Dressage Finals by nominating* themselves and their horses with which they earned qualifying scores. Regions 3 and 4 will be next, held over the weekend of October 11 - 13, with qualifying concluding on October 17 - 20 for Regions 1 and 9.
To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, review lists of declared riders and horses from each region, and sign up to receive news and updates, visit the official event website at www.usdressagefinals.com.